Directed by: Douglas McGrath
Starring: Toby Jones, Sandra Bullock, Daniel Craig, Lee Pace,
Jeff Daniels, Sigourney Weaver, Hope Davis, Peter
Bogdanovich, Isabella Rossellini, Juliet Stevenson,
Released by: Warner Independent
Short: Exploring the same topic as last
year's “Capote,” this version suffers
by comparison, despite great acting and a slightly
different take on the subject.
Take on Truman Capote's In Cold Blood?
Hollywood, as in life, timing is often everything. Had
“Infamous” hit theaters before last year's
acclaimed film “Capote,”
we might have received it better. If you have seen “Capote”
and Philip Seymour Hoffman's lead performance in the title
role, which won him virtually every lead acting award
last year, “Infamous” simply seems like a
well-acted rehash, despite the fact that both were shot
at the same time. “Infamous,” which tells
the same story of the events in author Truman Capote’s
life that led to his writing the seminal true-crime book In Cold Blood, was held back from theaters last
year in an attempt to avoid the inevitable comparison,
but that strategy has not helped much.
are certainly some bright spots in “Infamous,”
starting with Gwyneth Paltrow's inspired torch song á
la Peggy Lee that opens the film. She's just grand, and
should sing more often.
triumvirate of Sigourney Weaver, Hope Davis and Juliet
Stevenson as famed New York socialites/fashion icons Babe
Paley, Slim Keith and Diana Vreeland is a formidable one,
with Isabella Rossellini adding to the fine mix as Marella
Agnelli. All give inspired, elegant performances, but
Stevenson’s is deserving of an end-of-the-year award.
being overshadowed, however, by the push to get an Oscar
nomination for Sandra Bullock, who plays Capote’s
best friend, To Kill a Mockingbird novelist Nelle
Harper Lee. Considering that Catherine Keener beat her
to that nomination last year for the same role in “Capote,”
it doesn’t seem very likely, despite the understated
plainness of Bullock's performance.
Jones is also fine as Capote himself, but this version
seems more superficial somehow than the earlier movie,
perhaps because of the strong focus on his New York socialite
life. And just how many different ways can the story of
two ex-cons who murder a whole family on a remote Kansas
farm be told? Not too many, and numerous scenes play out
in eerie similarity to what has come before.
you missed “Capote”
last year, you might just want to check out “Infamous.”
It is a solidly told drama based on a true story with
a number of good performances, which is certainly better
than a lot of movies out there in the multiplex these